Story by Paige Effinger, Contributing writer
The final forum in the race for the position of provost and vice president for academic affairs was held Tuesday in the Freed Curd Auditorium for Dennis Rome.
Rome currently serves as the dean of the College of Letters and Sciences at Columbus State University in Columbia, Georgia, where he has been since 2014. He also held positions at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana and Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Bradley University, his master’s degree in sociology from Howard University and his Ph.D in sociology from Washington State University.
Rome defined himself as a traditionalist because he went straight from his undergraduate degree to a master’s degree and then proceeded to his doctorate degree.
After receiving his doctorate degree, Rome went to work as an associate professor and then as an associate provost at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside.
At his current position at Columbus State University, he said students have always been at the forefront of what he does. The benefits of the students are most important to him.
If chosen as the provost for Murray State, Rome wants to implement a good portion of the strategic plan. The strategic plan is a written plan that was approved by the Murray State University Board of Regents that outlines the future of the university for the years 2015-2022.
He said he wants to promote student success by ensuring each student has opportunities for an internship, and he wants to recruit students from unrepresented areas.
He said he believes academic and student affairs should work hand-in-hand.
“Many of the issues affecting students aren’t necessarily on one side or the other,” Rome said. “We need both.”
For example, he said if a student is falling behind and their academic advisor notices, it is important that the advisor finds out the reason the student is falling behind. He said there is often other explanations for academic struggles beyond difficult coursework.
Rome said Murray State is a comprehensive institution, which requires graduate programs. Therefore, Rome said it is necessary to invest resources in that area because that is who Murray State is.
Another way to address the balance between programs, Rome said, is to offer five year programs where students obtain their bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the same time. It may not work across the board for all programs, but Rome said that is an option for some programs.
Rome said after researching the institution and meeting people, he felt he would be a good fit for Murray State.
“I could make some really good, significant contributions working along with you,” Rome said.